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Mountain Modern Homes Are Not Just for Uber Wealthy

Mountain Modern Homes Are Not Just for Uber Wealthy

 

Mountain Modern Home

Mountain Modern Homes are not just for the uber wealthy; they can be designed for you, too! Conventional homes often rely on costly interior decoration for aesthetic beauty (see this write up). At Greenovision, our Mountain Modern Home designs aim to focus the home on the beauty of the world around us rather than on material distraction, which can be unnecessarily expensive. Our home design strategies aim to simplify overall building complexity. We typically achieve this by combining simpler roof lines (i.e. fewer valleys, hips, intersections, dormers, etc) with overall simpler open floor plan and interiors (i.e. less complex and unnecessary trim, walls, and paint schemes). This absence of complication not only shifts the occupants’ focus to the ephemeral beauty of the outdoors, it also saves money on construction. Such savings can then be allocated into energy efficient infrastructure and sustainable materials that last longer, are more durable, and even look better. These savings are also what can make Mountain Modern Home design attainable to the average homeowner, not just the uber wealthy. The key ingredient to all of these benefits is quality, well-thought-out design.

What make Mountain Modern Homes beautiful, cool, sleek, efficient, and long lasting has everything to do with how they are designed. Quality design begins with investigating the specifics of site location, which then unveils material and color palettes that will help integrate the home into its surroundings. For example, a designer analyzes environmental textures, colors & light (colors rely on light), and angles & slopes, then fashions the home design to blend and/or contrast with these surrounding features. To see and read more on designing to your home location, please go here. You can see more on how the environment influences our design process here.

The location of a home drives our design process even further when we consider energy efficiency strategies that will be appropriate for such sites. Every environment has strengths and weaknesses that must be carefully considered so that our design fits the needs and limits of the home. To learn more about Greenovision’s energy efficiency strategies, please go here or read our blog posts here.

Mountain Modern Home

Take a close look at what some are considering a Mountain Modern Home and see if they fulfill some of the design considerations we have mentioned here; be critical. Mountain Modern Homes, as with any home style, should not just be a recycled style thrown down on any site. Conventional homes can often appear to have been designed, but after examining how the home feel and performs, it’s clear that the home was a replicated typology and lacked thorough design. To us, Mountain Modern Home design should be a well-thought-out endeavor that is not only beautiful in setting and interior, but considers an array of design details, technologies, and ideas! Investing in a new Mountain Modern Home that is designed for you and where you live is a great idea. And lastly, do you have to live in the mountains to have this style? No, its just a home typology, just like you don’t have to live in colonial times to have a colonial home.  Contact us and let’s get going on your design!

Mountain Modern Homes

Transparent Awning Over Sliding Door Built and Installed

Transparent Awning Over Sliding Door Built and Installed

Why Polycarbonate awnings make sense

All exterior doors and their thresholds should be protected by a roof.  In my early days of remodeling construction, I took apart numbers of exterior doorways due to water damage.  Whenever there is a penetration through an exterior wall that is at ground level, there will be moisture issues over time no mater how well the builder tried to seal the door during installation.  Typical roofs over glass doors cut off day lighting and views; not so with our polycarbonate awnings. Our custom designed transparent awnings not only protect the threshold from water damage, but also add UV protection to vulnerable interior finishes from harmful sun rays. Our awnings still let the sunlight in and look sleek and stylish. This awning, recently built and installed at the Hawk Ridge Home, is also an important component of the passive solar design.

Hawk Ridge Home exterior close to complete

Hawk Ridge Home exterior close to complete

Just a few images of how we are looking at the Hawk Ridge Home just before winter ramps up.  The status of the interior is that all plumbing, heating, and electrical are wired, routed, and hooked up. The drywall is up and being finished. We will get some images once things start to look like an interior!

The local mule deer seem to just love this area; can you spot the bucks?

With the installation of the polycarbonate garage doors, the garage and boat shed are now seeing passive solar heat gain and have ample natural day lighting, two energy efficiency strategies used in main part of the home. A garage shouldn’t have to be gloomy, cold, and boring!

 

Wattage!  Solar electric kicking out some juice!

 

Taking Cues From Our Landscape

Taking Cues From Our Landscape

Montana’s vast and numerable landscapes are a challenge for designers who strive for integrating their built forms into our environment.  It is an important design challenge that should be not just be considered, but practiced carefully, especially in times such as these when rapid housing growth with quick pick stylism is causing a deranged view of housing.

How we improve integration of our built forms into such a complex yet subtle landscape is a matter of understanding each building site and being realistic as to how our design either melds with the local environment or stands apart from it. Most of the time Greenovision designs to meld or integrate into the surrounding landscape.  Although there are acceptable times to contrast and stand apart from our surroundings and our neighbors, in general, we consider this a rather ostentatious design pattern.  As I said, it is ‘our’ environment which we all have to live with either in delight or dyspathy. It seems that most building designs have not even considered our environment at all and it is stylism that predominates in decision making.

So what are the key ingredients to melding our designs into the landscape?

Here are a few to consider:

Understanding the vast and complex scales of Montana’s land and sky.  Although not every site has the “Big Sky” phenomena, many do.  There are, however, narrow canyons, dense urban areas, and tightly wooded areas that require a whole different sets of design parameters to arrive at appropriate massing, building heights, and roof forms. But even in these settings there is always the potential to better ‘fit in’ through attention to local details in scales (heights, widths, lengths, and volumes) of not only buildings, but natural phenomena like trees, topography backdrop, or amount of sky overhead without simply picking a ‘house style’ from a catalog.

 

 

Seeing Montana’s color and texture pallet as it is. Montana has arrays of color and texture pallets which can vary from dark wooded areas to brilliant golden fields of wheat. Large swaths of wildflowers or snowfields, areas of river rock, sandstone outcrops, and limestone can all be color pallet cues for us to follow. Nevertheless, it is through examining our design against the real environment that we arrive at appropriate colors and textures.

Studying Montana’s topography. Natural ramps and features like ridges, buttes, aretes, synclines, anticlines, glens, and valleys are all possible informants to adjusting our roof forms and building volume massing.

Through studying and then designing around such natural cues, the home has a connected and grounded aesthetic to its location. This is far different than choosing a style, like bungalow, craftsman, colonial, ranch, contemporary, etc. Not only is it just and fair to each location, it’s by far a more fun and rewarding way to design because it frees up new design possibilities!

Logan Log Cabin Remodel update!

Logan Log Cabin Remodel update!

Just an update on our latest remodel design and its realities.  The homeowners and their two dogs are living in the home as it is being remodeled.  Keeping work and home life separate becomes somewhat difficult, but can be done.

In case you might be considering a remodel of your own, this is where you begin. Without design and drawings, you most likely won’t get to progress to the following below….  Once you begin the remodeling design and construction process, don’t get discouraged! Lots of hurdles are yet to come!

Then you progress to this….

This is a picture taken in the old stair way… you can see the old log cabin which origins are back in the late 1800’s.

The logs are still in good shape!

This is the new staircase to meet modern codes.

Some framing pics along the way of remodeling….

The dried in roof awaits a brand new standing seam roof!  

Time for the plumber and electrician to rough in their utilities. Then on to the insulation of all exterior wall and roof cavities.

 

 

Hawk Ridge Framing and Windows Update!

Hawk Ridge Framing and Windows Update!

The framers have reached a major milestone in the construction of Hawk Ridge Home… the roof is on and “dried in.”  The windows and exterior doors have been set, meaning this home is well on its way to becoming real shelter.  According to Soren, the framing subcontractor, the month of June and early July had some pretty wet afternoons with large build-ups of clouds down Paradise Valley, which quickly turned into crazy wind and downpour events. When Emily and I arrived on Monday to take these pictures, it was a hot hazy late morning more typical of July days in Paradise Valley.

To see a 360 slide show  click here

Here are photos and commentary of the exterior of the Hawk Ridge Home:

 

Several things to note about the Hawk Ridge Home and how it sits in the landscape: Notice how the surrounding landscape has series of ramps with longish linear features where woods meet fields, or cliff bands, buttes, mountain ridges or aretes in the backdrop. Our design’s massing came from these slight angles and ramps.  Unfortunately, so many of the homes in this area have little physical form relationships with this stunning backdrop.  To further compliment the surrounding environment, the finish materials will obviously much more subdued than the Tyvec building wrap that you are seeing in these pictures! Just as a reminder: here is a link to the original concept rendering for visualizing interior and exterior texture and colors.  Please choose the exterior renderings tab to see the Hawk Ridge exterior.

As a reminder, in the following image the gray foundation will be back-filled to create a berm against the north side of house.  This build up of earth will not only give the home physical ‘grounding,’ helping it’s form set into the land, but will also contain certain mechanical features such as a cistern to catch the roof-shed water runoff and a propane tank.

We were glad to be able to get out of the sun and take a look around inside.  A few notes on the interior pictures: It is very hard at this time to get a feel for the space as the interior walls have not been framed yet. Wisely, the framers are building the interior 2×4 walls that define the interior plane of the exterior walls before they build the rest of the interior partition walls. Right now the main space is wide open giving maximum space for chop saw cutting stations and staging.

Here are photos of the Interior of the Hawk Ridge Home:

Hawk Ridge Framing 2

Hawk Ridge Framing 2

Just a few less gloomy pics after meeting with the clients and Josh Bloomquist the G.C. after a breakfast meeting at Chico Hot Springs.

A note on the last picture, Emily is helping our client better understand construction drawings.  It is a learning experience having a new home built!  The Hawk Ridge homeowners have been fun to work with.  We admire their open minded approach to exciting changes in their lives.  Thank you both!  A side note: these clients aspire to having their new home  energy efficient and have done much to educate theirselves about how their home can lead the charge into our energy conservative approach to the future.

Hawk Ridge Home Framing Photos

Hawk Ridge Home Framing Photos

The sky was a bit ominous yesterday at the Hawk Ridge Home site, but spirits were high! The homeowners met with us there after their drive up from Colorado along with Josh, the general contractor, and the framing crew led by Soren Mundt, Max, Seth and Joe.  By the way, Soren’s father, Gordan Mundt, did the concrete work, which we showed in an earlier post.  These guys have good attitudes and have been successfully and expediently moving through our design making it a reality. By the way, they have so far enjoyed working with Greenovision kit-like detailed framing drawings which is a reward for our hard work.  In a nut shell, we give our builders drawings that have pre-dimensioned every stud and header so that the framers are confronted with fewer major decision making dilemmas, which can disrupt the flow and speed in which the home is erected.  In Montana we have to be very careful about managing the time we have during good weather windows.

What you are seeing is the exterior frame of the home; there is another inner wall system, which is constructed after the roof goes on.  This construction method provides a total wall thickness of 1 foot, which will achieve an R-40 +/-  insulative value.  This is not your average home in the making.  The roof will come in at around R-60+.

We had very productive conversations yesterday and we’re all exited to see this home take shape.

View to the south through the master bedroom window array.

This is where the sliding glass door will be to lead to the covered north-side patio area.

View to the west from the guest room/exercise room.

This is the view to the north from the guest room/office.

This will be the view to the north from the kitchen sink. Not a bad vista when washing dishes!

This is the master bedroom.

Mark and homeowner.

View to the south of Emigrant Peak through the living room window array.

This small room is the attached greenhouse that will be used for hydroponics.

This concrete wall is a trombe wall off the the greenhouse.

This is where the utility closet will be in the garage.

Addition + Remodel Design of an 1890’s Home

Addition + Remodel Design of an 1890’s Home

Here’s a sneak peak of an addition/remodel project that we’re currently designing and drafting. This home was originally a log cabin built in the 1890’s that has seen numerous additions over the years. There is a small shed roof addition in the rear that is un-insulated and has asphalt shingles causing severe ice damming and damage to the roof & entryway. The current upstairs space is seldom used because it is too small and poorly designed, plus the stairs are too steep and narrow. This addition solves a number of problems for this home: 1) It fixes the ice damming issue, 2) It creates safer stairs that meet code, and 3) It creates a more comfortable and spacious upstairs space that can serve as a guest room. This addition improves the livability of this home and increases resale value.

This addition is designed to fit the clients’ budget as well as compliment the existing traditional style of the home. The pocket windows add a fun modern flair to the traditional design. This addition along with the added insulation to the existing roofs will greatly improve the energy-efficiency and overall comfort the entire existing home.

The current entry to the home in the rear of the building has no overhang, which during rain and snow events is not a pleasant way to enter and exit the home. The addition is designed to include a new roof over the entry.

These images show the elevations of the new upstairs spaces. An addition to an 1890’s home not only requires careful design, but also a set of detailed plans are required to obtain a building permit. Construction drawings provide instructions and other important information for the builders and subcontractors.

The new upstairs will include a half bathroom, a living/guest room area, built-in shelving, and built-in desks. The addition will also provide a new, spectacular view of the mountains to the east.

Phase 1 of this project is the upstairs addition, however, we are also designing Phase 2, the remodel of the downstairs kitchen.

These are more detailed floor plans of the Phase 2 kitchen remodel design.

These are the 2nd story floor plans for both the current and new spaces. Many of these drawings look askew because the existing home is not square!

The homeowners will be the general contractors and construction of this home improvement project begins this Summer 2017.  Please stay tuned as we share updates of the progress!

Hawk Ridge Home Construction Updates: May 3rd &10th

Hawk Ridge Home Construction Updates: May 3rd &10th

Construction of the Hawk Ridge Home in Paradise Valley is well underway! This home is designed to be sustainable and energy-efficient with “Sun Smart Radiant Heating” (combined passive solar and radiant hydronic heating), passive cooling, a well-insulated and tightly sealed building envelope, solar electric panels, long-lasting exterior materials, interior finish details made from reclaimed lumber, and other green features. It’s Greenovision’s greenest home yet!

These first four photos were taken on May 3rd and snow the plumbing and electrical conduits being installed under the slab.

The next six photos were taken on Mark’s site visit on May 10th. You can see the radiant floor tubing laid out and the slab being poured; both are important components of the design and energy efficiency of this green home. The concrete slab floor is the “thermal mass” which stores and helps regulate the passive solar heat gain during the winter. The radiant system actively distributes the passively collected solar heat for an even temperature throughout the home and is also an efficient back-up heating system for long stretches of sunless days.

Thanks to the excavation, concrete, electrical, heating, and plumbing crews as well as the general contractor for all of your excellent work so far! We’re thrilled to see this home coming along… More construction photos can be seen on our Greenovision Facebook Page.